Interview: How Viacom Is Evolving With Audiences
Viacom's Kodi Foster discusses applying data strategy to entertainment for cross-generational audiences before joining us on stage at PSFK's CXI 2018 conference
The entertainment industry has undergone a revolution in recent years thanks to major changes in how people consume media. While some companies have suffered, others have adapted to the new technologies and interfaces that consumers use as well as the pace of life that they follow, revamping their services to meet modern demands.
One such company is Viacom Media Network, a home to leading brands like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central that create content for television, film, games, podcasts, live events and more. Kodi Foster, Viacom’s SVP of Data Strategy, will speak about his work at PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference on May 18 in New York. Before the event, PSFK caught up with Kodi to find out how his company has maintained its footing in a continuously evolving realm.
Kodi, since you spoke at our conference back in 2016, how has the entertainment landscape changed?
The big change is obviously the deprecated end points from Facebook/Instagram. The ripples of turning off the faucet, so to speak, can already be felt, as product, data science and even entire business strategies need to shift to a world where one of the most valuable entertainment marketplaces is going to become even harder to understand.
How is Gen Z shifting the experience you develop?
I don’t really think of product development in terms of generational groupings. A well-designed user experience will always begin and end with delighting the customer, and that is cross-generational. With fewer gateways and more utility, it’s tough to go wrong. I think what we are going to see is more products designed to solve problems and fewer companies designed to solve inconveniences.
What will you share in the update you will give?
I will talk about a company I had the pleasure of partnering with and developing, called Stndby.
How is Viacom helping shape the future of TV?
Viacom is always leading in terms of experimenting with new content formats and platforms—we find our audiences wherever they are, and sometimes before they are there. From a marketing standpoint, there are some really interesting strategies happening in TV today. Viacom Velocity, our branded content and integrated marketing group, is at the forefront of branded entertainment, merging creativity with data to offer marketing partners more prediction and targeting. That is a really important innovation.
How are consumers reacting to some of these integrations?
People are really seeking content. If you’re providing something that’s useful to their life, they don’t care if it’s coming from a journalist or a wonderful company, but it has to be authentic and it has to be transparent.